Meri Herrala

  • Visiting researcher, Historiafoorumi, Research hub

Job description

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the History Forum of the University of the Arts, Helsinki

Tasks: Applying for research funding, finalization of my post-doc book, teaching assignments


I am a postdoctoral researcher at the History Forum of the University of the Arts, Helsinki

Academic degree: Doctor of Social Sciences 2010, University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies / Political History

Special areas: The political and cultural history of the USSR, especially history of music, music policy and the development of the Soviet artistic policy since 1917, cultural diplomacy and cultural relations of the USSR during the Cold War, the cultural relations between the USSR and the USA.

I have extensive knowledge of archives of the former USSR (Moscow and St. Petersburg), also knowledge of the US National Archives and Library of Congress materials, and some other American libraries, the Archives of the University of Arkansas, and the D.D. Eisenhower Presidential Archives.

Apart from these, I have also done research in political archives in Berlin and naturally the Finnish National Archive, etc.

I am currently working on project proposals but I also have a book project “Music, Diplomacy and the Cold War” (funded by the Academy of Finland in 2014-17)

1. The subject of my post-doctoral research was the music policy of the Soviet Occupation zone in Eastern Germany. I hope one day to be able to return to this topic, too. I have gathered material in archives in Moscow and Berlin, among others.

I have also done some archival research on musical relations between Finland and the USSR.

Research visits: St. Petersburg State University, spring 2018; Georgetown University 2013-2014 (ASLA-Fulbright Junior Scholar); Humboldt Universit├Ąt zu Berlin 2011; Princeton University 2006-2007, and 2008

I am also a former amateur cellist, having played some 20 years at, e.g., the Sibelius College and Helsinki University and PO Symphony Orchestras.


So far I have taught at the Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki and the MA School of the Aleksanteri Institute, etc.


Research and publications

Herrala, Meri E., Challenges for Soviet-American Collaboration in the Cold War: The Capitalisation of Pianist Sviatoslav Richter for American Musical Markets in Cold War History, published 27 January 2019, 22 pages,

Herrala, Meri, E., “Pianist Sviatoslav Richter: The Soviet Union Launches a ‘Cultural Sputnik’ to the United States in 1960,” in Music, Art and Diplomacy: East-West Cultural Interactions and the Cold War. Mikkonen, S. & Suutari, P. (eds.). 1. ed. Farnham: Ashgate, Vol. 2016. p. 87-105 19 p. 6

Herrala, Meri, E., “Fighting for the Fiddler: The Competition for Securing David Oistrakh’s First American Concert Tour in 1955,” Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, issue 20 /2013, 35-60.

Monograph: Herrala, Meri, E., The Struggle for Control of Soviet Music From 1932 to 1948: Socialist Realism vs. Western Formalism. Lewiston, Queenston,Lampeter: Edvin Mellen Press 2012. 668 p.

Further articles, see also


  • political history
  • Soviet Union
  • Cold War music and music diplomacy
  • Soviet cultural policy
  • Soviet music